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"Ranked among the founding greats of death metal, Florida miscreants Obituary have been consistently, stubbornly true to their school since the hair-metal dark ages of 1988, when they changed their name from Xecutioner," writes Monica Kendrick, "and they still have three of the same members they did way back then." For this tour they'll be playing a set drawn from their first three landmark albums: Slowly We Rot (1989), Cause of Death (1990), and The End Complete (1992), including some songs that they've never aired live before. Among the many opening bands are reunited Chicago death-metal crew Broken Hope, who released the fondly remembered Swamped in Gore in 1991.
"Master guitarist and producer Devin Townsend usually tries to do something new with every record, which probably means he'll take forever to get around to the long-threatened sequel to his concept album about coffee-snob alien Ziltoid the Omniscient," writes Monica Kendrick. "As much as I'd like to hear that record, though, I don't mind a bit—because his latest albums have been full of touching personal testimony, couched in a gloriously elaborate wall of sound that's sometimes delicate and sometimes stupidly heavy. . . . In his kitchen sink Townsend mixes at least six different flavors of metal, lots of AOR hooks, a bit of fusion, and more than a touch of sing-along grandeur a la Queen."
"David Byrne and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) wrote their new collaborative album, Love This Giant, mostly from afar, electronically swapping and tweaking sound files and lyrics," writes Peter Margasak. "At some point Byrne suggested using brass bands to provide most of the instrumental support—the arrangements also include drum programming by producer John Congleton and guitar from both Byrne and Clark—and according to the press materials, that choice seemed to demand lyrics with big themes." Live the pair will be backed by an eight-piece horn section directed by Kelly Pratt (aka Bright Moments), plus a keyboardist and a drummer. They also promise to play material from each of their own careers.
"The closing track on last year's Big Business EP, Quadruple Single, is called 'Guns,' and its sludgy parade of stomping noise carries just one lyric, chanted over and over: 'Guns are better than everything else.' It's a perfect example of what the band does best: crushing bass-heavy epics that never takes themselves too seriously," writes Kevin Warwick. "Bassist Jared Warren's funky-grunt vocals lie somewhere between boogie-down blues-rock and a Viking war march, and the band's overall aesthetic makes them sound like a bunch of dorks geeking out to Green Jelly albums, but Big Business are comfortable with their oddities—that's why they're still around, and why they seem to be having a better time than just about everybody else."